When most of us hear the term registry used in conjunction with criminal activity, we naturally think of the sex offender registries currently found in all 50 states. Indeed, the last thing we probably think of is white collar crime given the altogether disparate nature of these two offenses and the relative injustice that would result from treating those convicted of financial crimes in the same manner.
Interestingly enough, however, the state of Utah has chosen to do exactly this, launching the first-of-its-kind white collar crime registry back in February 2015.
What exactly does this white collar crime offender registry entail?
The state law requires that anyone convicted of any white collar crime classified as second-degree felony -- from mortgage fraud and money laundering to securities fraud and insurance fraud -- since December 31, 2005 to have their picture, physical description and other information posted in the registry.
There are currently over 100 people listed.
Is a person able to have their name removed from this white collar crime offender registry?
Those offenders who make full restitution to victims, comply with all applicable court orders and are not convicted of another offense that could land them back on the registry can be removed from the registry within 10 years.
What do criminal defense advocates have to say about this registry?
As you might imagine, many criminal defense advocates have spoken out against this registry, calling it a tool for public shaming that will only serve to make it that much more difficult for rehabilitated individuals to reenter society.
In addition, they have pointed out how the conditions for removal from the registry seem to unjustly favor wealthier individuals who otherwise have the means to pay full restitution as opposed to their indigent counterparts.
What's the future hold for the white collar crime offender registry?
There are currently no indications that Utah's draconian approach to punishment for white collar crime will be challenged via the courts. Indeed, lawmakers there have indicated that officials from other governments have actually contacted them for details about possibly setting up similar systems in their own jurisdictions.
Here's hoping that cooler heads prevail and that Utah's white collar crime offender registry remains the exception, not the norm.
If you are under investigation or have been charged with any sort of white collar crime, please consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible.